Sometimes I feel that society is on edge these days. Maybe it’s just me, but methinks that lately there is a collective edge. Here we are sandwiched between November’s election and the fiscal cliff and somehow I feel it on the road. Indeed like most Decembers, Mommy vans are popping through shopping mall parking lots like mice running from jacked-up felines. SUVs are speeding down our highways like gazelles racing through tall grass. Even service trucks are rushed to make their deliveries. None of this is new, but there’s just something different about the way things feel these days.
I was on my way to work the other day when I spotted yet another instance of road rage. A vehicle was slowly exiting the freeway onto a state route. Another vehicle behind the slow moving one was getting antsy and laid on the horn as the two cars were at a complete stop. About 15 seconds later, the impatient driver deliberately rammed the car so hard that the trunk popped open on car number one. I was entering the highway well on the other side of the state route so I couldn’t be a credible witness to this inexcusable traffic incident. I also had enough impatient drivers behind me to get on the freeway. I was disturbed by the incident to say the least. I wonder what the slow moving driver should have done. Should he or she have exited the vehicle and confronted the angry driver? Methinks not. Obviously, one ought to dial 911 on the mobile phone as soon as possible while somehow attempting to get a tag number. That would be a tough task if that angry person would have gotten out and somehow tried to stop the victim from contacting authorities.
Sure, we all get ticked off by the person in front of us where we just wish to lay on the horn, but remain silent. Yes, it’s different in the Northeast, but we aren’t driving cabs in Manhattan. OK, sometimes we politely hit the horn to signal the driver in front of us to move. Sometimes, we take our frustrations out and lay on the horn and well, that’s incredibly rude. While this incident was unacceptable, it’s symbolic of us being on the edge. What would make someone do something so stupid like deliberately ramming a vehicle in that manner? What was going to be accomplished? Of course in that moment, that impatient driver threw all logic out the window and couldn’t rationally answer those common sense questions. Perhaps the impatient driver in that incident is remorseful and is in shock at his or her behavior. The only defense that the impatient drive could concoct is that he or she somehow lost control of his or her vehicle and somehow hit the slow driver. That would be a complete, deliberate lie which would be just as deliberate as the way that he or she rammed that vehicle. That incident is a sign that we’re on the edge.
I can also spot the insanity during my afternoon runs. While crossing a school parking lot entrance on a green light for me, an SUV was stopped for its red light. Within a split second the SUV driver made a last minute decision to make a right on red and came barreling towards me. Luckily I sprinted out of its direction. I chalk it all up to being on the edge. Here, a distracted parent or even a teacher had quite a bit on the mind to make such a move.
One could blame the current craziness on the end of school days, kids’ activities and the holidays, but lately, it seems like much more. Folks wish to get a number of things done before 2012 expires on us. It’s understandable, but this year, it seems different. No, it’s not the nervousness associated with the Mayan calendar. We aren’t in a malaise or a “funk.” My guess is that there is a level of uncertainty piled on top of holiday season stress.
I’ve been getting updates from a Facebook friend who was visiting Belize. She’s got the right idea. While most of us don’t have the funds to de-stress in that manner, there are a number of affordable alternatives out there if we are willing to look for them. My biggest suggestion is to de-clutter our lives. Indeed that’s a tall order, but one that seems to be the most sensible. This feeling of being on the edge could just be me, but again, I think not.